Donna Elaine Nerstad, 72, of East Peoria, Ill., formerly of Peoria, died at 8:40 a.m. on Monday, March 31, 2014, surrounded by loved ones in her home following a recent diagnosis of advanced stage breast cancer.

Donna was born in Peoria on May 24, 1941, to Walter and Norma (Brown) Kuerth. Donna attended Thomas Jefferson Grade School and graduated from Peoria High School in 1959. She received her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Bradley University in 1963. She taught English and home economics at Georgetown Junior High School near Peoria for six years prior to becoming a homemaker once her children were born. 

She married Karl Nerstad (her biggest fan) on June 30, 1968, at First Christian Church in Peoria. He quotes Proverbs Chapter 31 Verse 10, "A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels."

Donna was a devoted, active member and deacon of First Christian Church in Peoria, carrying out her faith using her time and talents throughout her life. She also thoroughly enjoyed being a leader in several organizations and clubs including East Peoria Women's Club, Society of Junior Peorians and Peoria Area Stitchers' Guild. She was gifted in her ability to create precise counted cross-stitch and crocheted projects and generously shared her masterpieces with others.   

She will be remembered for her kindness and unselfishness as she always put family and friends first and loved spending time with her children and grandchildren. She had an appreciation for the fine arts. She was an accomplished pianist and her legacy continues through her grandchildren. 

Donna is survived by her husband, Karl Nerstad; one daughter, Kristin with her husband Christopher Denault and their two children Katelyn and Joshua, all of Batavia, Ill.; son, Brian Nerstad with his wife, Shona and their two children, Elyssa and Julianna, all of Denver, Colo.; and son, Gary Nerstad with his wife, Amanda and their two children, Isabella and Greta, all of Geneva, Ill.  

Donna was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, Duane Kuerth.

Funeral services were held on Friday, April 4, at First Christian Church in Peoria. The Rev. Karen Merrick officiated.  Burial was in Parkview Cemetery in Peoria.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. On-line condolences may be made at